The Bazacle is a structure in and on the banks of the River Garonne
The Garonne is a river in southwest France and northern Spain, with a length of .-Source:The Garonne's headwaters are to be found in the Aran Valley in the Pyrenees, though three different locations have been proposed as the true source: the Uelh deth Garona at Plan de Beret , the Ratera-Saboredo...

 in the French
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 city of Toulouse
Toulouse is a city in the Haute-Garonne department in southwestern FranceIt lies on the banks of the River Garonne, 590 km away from Paris and half-way between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea...


It originated as a ford across the river Garonne, used from the 12th century onwards. The name bazacle comes from the Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 word vadaculum, meaning "little ford". The first bridge across the Garonne was built here, where the water was shallowest.

In 1190, with the permission of comte Raymond V of Toulouse
Raymond V of Toulouse
Raymond V was count of Toulouse from 1148 until his death in 1194.He was the son of Alphonse-Jordan. When Alphonse died in the Holy Land in 1148, the county of Toulouse passed to his son Raymond, at the time 14 years old....

, a sort of dam, the chaussée, and adjacent mills were built. These mills were cited by Rabelais in the sixteenth century as being the most powerful in the world.

In about 1250, the original undertaking was underwritten by a group of local seigneurs
Lord is a title with various meanings. It can denote a prince or a feudal superior . The title today is mostly used in connection with the peerage of the United Kingdom or its predecessor countries, although some users of the title do not themselves hold peerages, and use it 'by courtesy'...

, who shared the profits according to the number of shares they possessed. The shares of this society (the Société des Moulins du Bazacle, or Bazacle Milling Company) came to be traded on the open market in Toulouse and their value fluctuated according to the profitability of the mills. The company survived until 1946 and is sometimes claimed as the earliest example of a Joint-stock company.

A hydroelectric
Hydroelectricity is the term referring to electricity generated by hydropower; the production of electrical power through the use of the gravitational force of falling or flowing water. It is the most widely used form of renewable energy...

 power station was built in 1890 on the same spot to supply Toulouse with electricity. In 1946, Électricité de France
Électricité de France
Électricité de France S.A. is the second largest French utility company. Headquartered in Paris, France, with €65.2 billion in revenues in 2010, EDF operates a diverse portfolio of 120,000+ megawatts of generation capacity in Europe, Latin America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa.EDF is one of...

 bought the plant. Both old and modern turbines can be viewed in working state to this day. There is a fish ladder
Fish ladder
A fish ladder, also known as a fishway, fish pass or fish steps, is a structure on or around artificial barriers to facilitate diadromous fishes' natural migration. Most fishways enable fish to pass around the barriers by swimming and leaping up a series of relatively low steps into the waters on...

in the river, allowing fish to swim through.
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.